4 Reasons to Stop Working Right Away (And What to Do Instead)

Sometimes, you should just stop in your tracks and call it a day.

Yes, I understand; you want to be a good worker and finish the tasks you have started. But sometimes, this is not reasonable.

So, whenever your situation falls under any of these categories below, do yourself a favor and stop working right now. And if stopping is not possible, consider at least delaying your tasks a bit.


1. You Aare (Too) Tired

stop working too tired

Sometimes, you are just too tired to work. No matter how hard you try to focus on something, the words jump up and down on the paper, or the numbers scuttle in your eyes.

If you are experiencing this, then stop whatever you are doing and start again when you can focus better. 

And no, there’s no shame to give up on your tasks. Otherwise, if you keep on working, you’ll make more errors. Instead of moving forward with your project, you are moving backwards. And that’s not what you want.

How to Fix the Situation:

Obviously, you want to check the core reasons why you are feeling tired in the first place. But if you want to fix your tiredness, you should do something else.

When you can’t keep your eyes open, take a powernap, if possible.

I know that this tip works well when you are working for yourself. It even works when you are working remotely since bosses or your co-workers aren’t disturbing you. If you are in an office, find a quiet place to “shut down” for 20-minutes. 

Or if you have a standing desk, try working standing. A standing desk has helped me a lot in situations where I have felt tired, but I haven’t been able to take a nap.

2. You Don’t Have the Necessary Specs

stop working without a plan

Even if you’d like to start working on something right now, it may be impossible because you don’t have the necessary work specs available.

Sure, there is no-one stopping you from working on your tasks. But if you really don’t know what you should accomplish in the first place, you are taking a risk in doing work that is not necessary. 

Working without specs may give you results, but are those results needed at all?

How to Fix the Situation:

Don’t assume anything. 

Set the appropriate plans first on how you should proceed.

If your work is dependent on others, send them an email, and ask for more information.  If necessary, phone them if you are not getting any emails back.

But please, stop working on something you don’t have a clear plan about.

3. You Are Burning Out

It’s sad, but it’s true: Sometimes, people burn themselves out when working.

Although the burn out could be caused, for instance, by a too heavy workload, this is not always the case. In fact, you can also burn yourself out when you are doing something that you deeply care about.

For instance, I have stopped blogging a couple of times because I worked too much. Even though I loved writing, I couldn’t even look at the computer screen. At that point, I knew it was time to stop writing and start doing something else.

How to Fix the Situation:

Let me be completely honest here: I’m not a doctor, and I’m not giving you any medical advice. In case if you are feeling any symptoms of burn-out, you should consult your doctor right away.

In my case, when I felt being burnt-out, I stopped spending time at the computer. Instead, I focused on physical activities, like exercising or gardening.

Eventually, I was able to get back to work, but I made sure I kept my workload light. That’s how I got my motivation back, and at some point, I was also able to work more (but not too much!)

Work is important for all of us, but playing with health is not worth it. So even if you have to stop working for an undefined period of time, it’s worth it. 

Your health should come as the #1 priority in your life. And if you don’t have your health, life becomes miserable.

4. You Don’t Like What You Are Doing


In 2017, I stopped blogging on this blog, and the reason was pretty simple: I didn’t enjoy writing about productivity anymore. 

It’s now early 2020, and I made a comeback because I wanted to.

Even the best jobs in the world have boring parts. These tasks are, however, only a small part of the overall work. And that’s why the big picture is manageable.

But if those small boring parts are your whole work, then you’ll have to figure out ways to escape from the situation.

How to Fix the Situation:

If it’s possible to stop working on something you don’t like (like washing dishes, mowing the lawn), then fine, just do it. But, for instance, if you have a job that you don’t like, things become more complicated.

Based on my earlier experiences, I had two options to choose from if I didn’t like my job: I could either find another job which I liked doing or change my attitude towards the current work.

If you can find a new position inside the company you are working for, then fine, try to find another job. But if changing jobs is not possible, then put the focus on changing your attitude.

Your attitude plays a key role in how you feel about something and how you look at the world. And when you adjust your attitude, it can very likely help you out. 

4 Reasons to Stop Working Right Now: The Conclusion

Sometimes, it’s reasonable to stop working on something, no matter how much you’d like to keep on going. In fact, stopping your current assignment is probably more productive than stubbornly keeping on working.

It’s your turn now: Have stopped working on something, and why? Please share your experiences in the comments area.